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MotoGP, Quartararo: "The future? I'm not worried, I would be if I didn't know where to go"

"This is the best Yamaha ever, the mentality in the garage has changed, but we're not ready yet, and I don't expect to go from 0 to 100 in three months. The problem is that if I have improved by 7 tenths, my opponents have improved by a second"    

MotoGP: Quartararo:

The start of the season has not been one of the easiest for Fabio Quartararo, on a Yamaha which, in chasing its rival manufacturers in terms of development, is struggling to keep up despite having put made much more of an effort than in the past. Outside the top ten in both races of the Qatar event, the Frenchman knows full well that it will take some time to see the first results of the various tests and concessions. He is also a Fabio Quartararo who is looking around, he admits, with a rider market that has already dealt its first cards (as Ducati demonstrated with the purchase of Aldeguer for next season) but the Frenchman at the moment remains focused on development dedicating confidence, and above all time, to the Japanese manufacturer at this start of the championship.

In the past you achieved two victories here in Portimao, what are your expectations?

"To be honest, they are low - Fabio responds promptly - but we have to be positive and try to give the maximum of our potential as always. I’m not thinking too much about the victory, for me already getting directly into Q2 is very important, then getting a good qualifying and we'll see in the races."

The prospects, however, seem better than in Qatar.

"For me they are, because we haven't done any tests here and it's a very different circuit. In the past I've had two excellent races here and I think we can be fast. As for the bike, step by step we're accumulating information and we're changing a lot of things compared to the first tests in Valencia. The way we approach the time attack is completely different now so I think we are working well, but from now on in three months I don't expect a change from 0 to 100, that's clear. Step by step even if the results don't arrive at least we are getting valuable data."

In what way have you changed the way you approach the fast lap?

"We have changed the entry into corners, and also the power we have available now is different than in the past, the gears have changed. Sometimes you ask too much and now, more often than not, we use less power than we have in tackling the curves. It's a process that will take time, step by step we will learn to understand how to get the most out of this bike and how much it can accept."

Are you looking to adapt your riding style?

"More than trying to learn, we are learning, the team and I, especially to improve the electronics where we were really far from our rivals. We learned some really important lessons recently on the track."

The race in Qatar saw a first taste of the on-track values, and the distance between Yamaha and its rivals seems to have increased. Is there any concern?

"Yes, the gap has increased - admits the Frenchman - but to be honest in Qatar we were still trying different things, we're not ready yet. Compared to last year we were still in difficulty but we had nothing to experiment with. This is what we have at the moment, but the mentality in the garage has changed, now during a race weekend we can think about what to change. We change a lot of things during the weekend and this is certainly a positive aspect. If I can help the team improve the performance I prefer to do it now by putting my hands on many things rather than fighting for one more position."

In 2021 one of your strong points was your confidence on the front. In what conditions would you fight in today's MotoGP with that bike?

"We would be even further away. I'm honest when I say that this is the best bike we've had and you can also see it from the lap times, I'm faster than in 2021. The problem is that our rivals have made further steps forward, if I have improved by 7 tenths, they have improved by a second or more. We need to find a way to make bigger steps forward."

You no longer have a manager but this season will see an incandescent rider market. How are you getting organized?

"It's true, technically I don't have a manager. However, I have Tom Maubant (Fabio's Uccio, ed.) with me, who helps me and in a certain sense acts as my agent. I trust him 100%, I entrusted him with this task last year and now he is in charge of negotiations."

Can the thoughts about your future be a distraction during a race weekend?

"Not at all - continues Fabio - when I'm busy on the circuit I don't think about anything else. Obviously it's a good thing to have the information and as you know we are talking to various manufacturers. I can say that I'm not in a bad situation at the moment. A bad situation was the one in Moto2 when you don't know where to go, then you start to worry but in my current situation I'm not worried".


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